In the lead up to May 24 Independence Day anniversary, several activities are taking place in Eritrea and across the world to mark its 28th anniversary celebration.
Minister of Information Yemane Meskel on Wednesday reported of what he described as a “colourful” street carnival in the capital Asmara as part of the week-long celebrations.
A parade of dispatch riders and a military band, citizens dressed in national colours displaying colourful memorabilia and thousands lined across Asmara’s Martyrs and Liberation Avenues to watch the procession.
A significant guest being US comedienne Tiffany Haddish who arrived in Asmara late last week to join the celebrations. Reports indicate that she had earlier applied for and received Eritrean citizenship.
In other photos making the rounds on social media platform Twitter; there are huge paintings depicting different parts of the country mounted along the roads.
There is also a collection of mannequins with the most catchy being what appears to be president Isaias Afwerki with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed cutting sod for the reopening of borders last year. All the borders have since been unilaterally shut by Eritrea according to reports.
With the streets free of cars, the camel which is a national symbol of the country also got a say in proceedings as a number of them were paraded with flag carrying young men.
Eritrea was colonized by two European countries – Italy (1889 – 1941) and England (1941 – 1952). It was annexed by Ethiopia in 1961 after the UN declared it an an autonomous region of Ethiopia after the British left in 1952.
In 1991, the Eritrean Peoples Liberation Front triumphed in a war of independence, they are said to have had a hand in deposing Ethiopia’s last emperor, Mengistu Haile Mariam in 1974.
Eritrea in 1993 voted for independence from Ethiopia in a UN-backed referendum and subsequently gained international recognition. It is currently a full member of the African Union (A.U.) and of the United Nations (U.N.)
A constitution was promulgated in 1997 but has never been implemented. The last presidential elections were planned for the same year but failed to hold. Nothing has been mooted along those lines since then. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports that work on a new draft constitution started in 2014 and continued well into 2016.
Photo credit: Ghideon Aron Musa (Twitter)